In the 21st century, successful businesses must be sustainable across a range of dimensions previously considered externalities.
Beyond compliance, it is comprehension, organisational rigour and an insistence on business value that will determine sustainable business success.
International teaching and industry experience
Bruce’s career has spanned 40 years of worldwide field experience in the mining industry. In his first career as a geologist Bruce developed an affinity for working with land connected peoples and local level agreement-making in economic frontiers. For the last 18 years Bruce has been at the forefront of developing Social Performance as a new professional discipline in the extractive sector.
For seven years Bruce was Global Practice Leader – Communities and Social Performance at global mining company Rio Tinto, leading an international team of achievement and distinction. As part of Rio Tinto’s Corporate Function he was involved in developing leading-edge Sustainable Development systems and practice across a spectrum of themes at some 150 globally disbursed assets.
Bruce is currently the Principal of a boutique consultancy, resolution88, specialising in ‘Social Licence’ solutions for the extractive sector, and an Adjunct Professor at the Sustainable Minerals Institute at the University of Queensland. Bruce widely publishes and regularly delivers invited Keynote Presentations and Masterclasses at international academies and symposia.
Why does Bruce like teaching in the MBA programme?
Bruce had two very fulfilling careers: the first as an exploration geologist, the second as a corporate executive in a large global mining company. His graduation from the Otago MBA in 1998 opened up his second career path. He is now in his third career, as a freelance business consultant, and a coach and teacher in social performance and business sustainability. Bruce feels it is a great pleasure and honour to ‘give back’ to the University of Otago, to spend sabbatical time in Dunedin and work with energised, bright young people pursuing their career paths.
What global perspective is reflected in his course/teaching?
The last 40 years have seen many changes in the societal and governance expectations of business enterprises, particularly when they seek to operate and trade globally. The glare of global scrutiny, enabled by the Internet, makes it increasing necessary for businesses to pro-actively maintain broad-based support for their activities. Instead of relying solely on a legal entitlement to operate, businesses must now also secure a ‘social licence to operate’. Moreover, beyond the threat of public sanction, there are real business opportunities to be realised in the disruptive business environment bought about by globalisation and sustainability. Understanding this context and the many dimensions of ‘Leading Sustainable Enterprises’ is a vital necessity for emerging business leaders.
The course will explore the historical and contemporary context of Sustainability through a ‘5-Capitals’ framework (Financial, Natural, Human, Social and Built). It will introduce the elements of Sustainability Governance, including risk assessment, control architecture, jurisdictional and international compliance imperatives, voluntary codes, and lenders’ requirements. Most importantly, participants will learn how to define a solid business case and nucleate business value from Sustainability. Beyond theory, real case studies will be introduced, requiring paradox and dilemma to be debated and resolved by the participants.
Bruce believes business strategy is important, however the lack of individual and business capability is frequently the weak link in answering the Sustainability challenge. He believes that many businesses attempt to earn Sustainability endorsement through public relations approaches with little success. Instead, he advocates an approach that identifies and mobilises the convergent comparative advantages of business and host societies to mutual benefit. Bruce has a unique ability born of many years’ global field experience across many diverse settings to research, reflect upon and teach ‘Leading Sustainable Enterprises’.